Jim Wallis Appearance Stirs Wisconsin Controversy

Jim Wallis

Here’s some breaking news from the Sheybogan Press.  It seems that Q90-FM, a Christian music station in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has pulled its sponsorship from Lifefest, a Christian music festival in the area.  Why?  Because Jim Wallis is one of the speakers at the event.

The Q90 board explains,

In their statement, the Q90 board of directors, leadership and staff said they became concerned with the beliefs and teachings of Wallis. Specifically, they said they believe the social justice message and agenda Wallis promotes is “a seed of secular humanism, seeking an unholy alliance between the church and government.”

Damn that Wallis, sowing seeds of justice!  (So, I guess this means that Q90-FM won’t sponsor the Wild Goose Festival next year?)

A local pastor puts it more pointedly,

“It’s easy to say we don’t have to agree with his politics or his theology, except that by promoting him as a speaker, that’s exactly what we’re doing,” [Pastor Kathi] Rose said. “We’re giving him credibility in all other areas of his politics and his theology, which in many ways is very, very antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the essentials.”

Hasn’t anyone told Pastor Kathi that Kathi’s aren’t allowed to be pastors?!?  Ken Silva, you’d better call this Pastrix out on your blog immediately!

(Many thanks to my aunt and uncle, fully sane, reasonable, and loving people who live near Sheboygan, for sending me the article.)

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  • http://www.theologyandcoffee.blogspot.com Jonathan Pedrone

    Congratulations to Q-90 FM for boycotting that heretic Jim Wallis. These Christian festivals have been leaning left for years… I hear next year Tony Jones is the featured guest!

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    In case anyone cares, Doug Wilson wrote a nice corrective to Wallis’ unjust ideology: http://www.dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7747:advisor-to-the-tamarack-and-white-pine&catid=87:politics

  • SuperStar

    The Christian Conservatives continue to get nuttier than the day before.

  • http://thewesgazette.wordpress.com Hardin

    I’m actually not sure they’re off base with saying that Wallis advocates an “unholy alliance between the church and government.” I’m generally a political liberal who agrees largely with Wallis’ theology, but I think he often goes as far in wanting to mix church and state as any religious right leader. The means don’t justify the ends, as much as I often agree with his ends.

    Having said that, my guess is these folks don’t see the endeavors of the Falwells, Dobsons, Perkinses, etc. as an unholy alliance between church and government. They probably think that alliance is justified and commanded by God.

  • http://bretttilford.com Brett Tilford

    “Damn that Wallis, sowing seeds of justice!” – Laughed so hard it nearly made me spit water out of my mouth.

  • http://livingjesusly/com edward dobson

    i have known jim for years and have had many interactions with him. he is the real thing. he lives out what he believes.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Edward, your comment gets at a key problem today. No one is saying that Wallis isn’t a genuine and sincere person. But sincerity in itself has no moral value. Yet it seems that people on the Left care primarily about authenticity, rather than truth. In my opinion, Wallis has sincere beliefs that happen to be outright evil. Furthermore, I don’t doubt (much) that he lives out what he preaches. Unfortunately, he doesn’t preach the Gospel, so it doesn’t really matter to me if he lives it out.

  • Bill Samuel

    I guess they also need to make sure they don’t have any favorable mentions of the prophets or of Jesus, who spoke out more strongly than Jim Wallis. All those prophetic utterances promote secular humanism, right?

  • Aran

    I’ll be at Lifest, with many students and other people from the faith community where I work

  • Aran

    crap . . . I hit “return” before I meant to . . .

    (continuing)

    I’ll be at Lifest with many students and other folks from the church where I work . . . many are excited to hear Jim . . . others are fearful . . . I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Oddly enough, Shane Caliborne is speaking at this same festival and, having heard and read stuff by both Jim and Shane, my view is that Shane has far more radical things to say to Christians who are on the left, right, center, as well as those who just couldn’t care less about left or right or center. Yet, there has been not a mention at all from anyone about pulling funding or boycotting Lifest.

    Strange.

  • Aran

    A great comment made at http://www.thenorthwestern.com . . . the local newspaper in Oshkosh, WI where Lifest is held.

    Jesus said, “take all that you have, sell it, and give the money to the poor.”

    I guess Jesus would not be an appropriate speaker as well.

    http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20100630/OSH0101/100629145/Guest-speaker-causes-rift-at-Lifest

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Aran, that quote is, frankly, stupid. Jesus DID say that… however, he didn’t say “Take all someone else has via taxes and give it to the poor.”

    Wallis is a false teacher, promoting sin and covetousness in anyone who will listen.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Darius,

      In the comment section on this blog, we don’t refer to someone else’s comment as “stupid,” especially when that person has quoted Jesus. That’s one of the reasons I left Beliefnet. Please don’t do it again.

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com Steve

    Darius – there you go throwing out that word “evil” again. It must feel good to be so righteous that you can identify evil so easily without even knowing a person. I know, I know… it’s not YOU calling them evil, but the Holy Scriptures. Ha… so predictable. Really sad actually.

    “…he doesn’t preach the Gospel, so it doesn’t really matter to me if he lives it out.” I’m sure you’d much prefer the opposite. Most church people do.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    I’m not righteous Steve, only Christ was righteous (and because He took my sin, so am I by extension). I didn’t call Wallis evil, just his beliefs/actions. Wallis himself is no more evil than I or any other human. He might actually be a “nicer” person than me. Was that predictable of me too?

    I’d prefer that he preach THE Gospel AND live it out. That would be ideal. Second best is to preach THE Gospel and not always live it out (which is applies to pretty much every Christian). Third best is to not believe THE Gospel. Worst is to preach a false Gospel.

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com Steve

    I’ve digressed in my conversation with Darius and we should really stay on topic, so my regrets for the highjack – I just find it frustrating as a whole. The church language, the use of the word righteous and claims thereof… amazing really to me now being removed from the church for some time. At least I now know I am 3rd best on Darius’ scale of righteousness! Just THAT CLOSE to being evil. Hahaha.

    So let me add on this topic: I don’t get church people anymore (not that I ever did). What’s the harm in having someone share ideas at a conference even if you don’t agree with their politics, beliefs, philosophy, etc? Really? I say if you really have at the heart of your life to learn and share your ideas and beliefs with people, shouldn’t we understand more readily who they are. Shouldn’t we dialogue with them and even fight with them… but never, ever shut them out. Even in my little side-notes with someone like Darius (who I can tell we never will see eye to eye on things) hopefully I learn something as I listen… even if I most assuredly disagree.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Apparently Steve you didn’t bother to read what I wrote but just make it up as you go along. I said EVERYONE (including me) is evil. I was merely listing the preferred beliefs and actions of people. I’d prefer everyone believed and lived out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I know from my own experience that living out the Gospel is very difficult. Thankfully we don’t have to be perfect, or we would be hopeless. Thanks be to Jesus that He WAS perfect.

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com Steve

    You take yourself too seriously. Lighten up.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Tony, perhaps you didn’t bother to read my comment closely, but I was referring to a comment someone quoted from another site. But either way, it IS stupid and asinine. “Especially when that person has quoted Jesus.” Seriously? It doesn’t matter if that person is taking Jesus completely out of context and inputting a foreign meaning into His words? Jesus would probably think it was stupid too. You might want to check out some of the harsher things He had to say to the Pharisees… calling a comment “stupid” is benign compared to that.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Meanwhile, I’m called “self-righteous” when I am CLEARLY saying quite the opposite, yet no one has a problem with that, Tony. That’s blind hypocrisy.

  • Jeremy

    Such vile hatred and divisiveness.

    God help us.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    I know, Jeremy, sickening, isn’t it? Can’t say anything on here without getting my words twisted and my face spat at. Kinda know in a small way what Jesus must have felt like…

  • Jeremy

    Such vile hatred and **divisiveness**

    God help us.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    That’s funny because that’s exactly what Jesus was accused of in his day… a rebel who sits and eats with sinners (yet tells them to stop sinning).

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Darius, tone it down. This is your last warning.

  • Jeremy

    I pray for His mercy on us every day. Especially when I read these comment threads.

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    Darius, are you for real, or just trolling? Jesus defined his gospel thusly: “”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news [the gospel] to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”, and “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” Do you really think that Jim Wallis doesn’t take _this_ gospel to heart?

    Your insistence that there is only one gospel, “THE Gospel”, and that is gospel is, of course, your understanding of the gospel, would be charming in its naivety, if such thinking hadn’t done so much damage to the church, Christians and the world. Don’t be surprised if the infinite God, and His gospel, is understood differently by different people, none of us can grasp the gospel in its fullness and the only we can be sure about is that our comprehension of the gospel is flawed, limited and just plain wrong.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    So Larry, when Jesus said there was only one way to see God, and that was via Himself, he didn’t really mean it? Or are you saying that God is so impotent that He can’t get the one true Gospel once delivered across to His people? I trust in a God who is big enough to overcome our limitations. There is only ONE Gospel, the Bible clearly tells us that. Your discomfort with that Gospel is telling, but it doesn’t change the facts. I’m continually growing in my understanding of the Gospel… it’s not the Gospel that changes, but God changing me.

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    There is only ONE Gospel, the Bible clearly tells us that.

    Then why are there four gospels in the Bible? That, by the way, don’t agree with each other in many specifics.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “That, by the way, don’t agree with each other in many specifics.”

    Larry, if you honestly believe that, you need to read a bit more. The Gospels agree completely on THE Gospel ONCE delivered, but are written from different perspectives to different audiences.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Tony, so contrary voices are not allowed? Here I thought you postmoderns were so open-minded… yet you allow people to rip on me (I don’t care, I’m thick-skinned) yet you won’t let me speak my mind. Typical intolerance from the Left.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Darius, dissenting voices are welcome. Assholery is not.

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    Larry, if you honestly believe that, you need to read a bit more

    Then tell me this, did Jesus drive the money lenders from the temple at the start of his ministry (John), or near the end (the synoptics)? You might think this a trivial example, but clearly the gospels differ about the timing of this event, and many other things as well.

    I would also wonder why you insist that people follow “THE Gospel”, meaning the gospel as you apprehend it, when you admit that your apprehension is constantly changing? Doesn’t this seem a just a little Darius-centric to you? How do you know that your gospel won’t become like Wallis’, or even James Cone’s, at some point?

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    How do you know that your gospel won’t become like Wallis’, or even James Cone’s, at some point?

    By the way, such a “conversion” is not so far-fetched as you might think, at one time I thought very much the way you do now, but find myself now agreeing with Wallis and Cone in a lot of things.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Really, your problem with the Gospels is based on the fact that they aren’t in chronological order on all points? The Gospel according to John is particularly casual toward keeping things in order. This may be news to you, but the books of the Bible aren’t even all in chronological order. Man, Larry, your questions are easily answered if you are willing to open your mind a little (I say that positively, not as an insult). There are numerous books which can answer this simple issues, and I bet you could find answers even with a Google search.

    The Gospel isn’t changing, I’m just understanding it more deeply. I appreciate grace more all the time, and the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to my own weak attempts at works-righteousness. By His grace, I will never fall into the deep error of a Wallis or McLaren. I try to not make God into my own image but into the image that His Word and Jesus presents.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “By the way, such a “conversion” is not so far-fetched as you might think, at one time I thought very much the way you do now, but find myself now agreeing with Wallis and Cone in a lot of things.”

    Perhaps, but I have to wonder if you understood WHY you thought that way. I’ve found that most people who have had a “conversion” into heresy never had a proper grasp of the Gospel or the Word to begin with, unfortunately. For example, your problem with chronology in the Gospels is a simply-answered one. I’d encourage you to willingly consider once again what God tells us about His glorious grace and His desire for all to come to repentance.

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    I’ve found that most people who have had a “conversion” into heresy never had a proper grasp of the Gospel or the Word to begin with,

    Do you have any idea how arrogant that sounds? You don’t know me, or what I believed then or believe now. How would you like it if I made the observation that in my experience opinions such as yours are the result of never seriously engaging with anybody outside of the conservative evangelical ghetto? As I said, at one time I was very much in the same camp as you, I thought I had all the answers and knew “THE Gospel”, and what it meant for every man and woman for all time. Now I don’t think that such knowledge is even possible for a human being to have, at best we can have “A Gospel”, one that arises out of our historical, cultural and our very local contexts. To think this is going to be the same gospel as the one you, or I, believe is simply breathtakingly arrogant. Rather than dismissing “the other” as heretics, we should be welcoming them and asking them to show us their gospel, their God. This is the way that our knowledge and perception of God grows, when we are able to see Him through the eyes of others.

    Really, your problem with the Gospels is based on the fact that they aren’t in chronological order on all points? The Gospel according to John is particularly casual toward keeping things in order

    I said it was a trivial example, but one that focuses on the issue. The problem with your explanation is 1) even with a certain laxity (from our “Enlightened” point of view) in maintaining a historical sequence, that _all_ the gospels writers show, it is simply not possible to place Johns clearing of the temple within the passion week, or to remove it from the passion week in the synoptics without doing violence to the texts; 2) most scholars think that John’s account is the more historically accurate, that the clearing of the temple occurred early in Jesus’ ministry, see, for example, J.A.T. Robinson’s “The Priority of John”. I am glad to see that you didn’t fall back on the incredibly hackneyed explanation that Jesus cleared the temple twice, once at the beginning of His ministry and once at the end. There are certainly more substantive examples of differences between the gospels, compare, for instance, Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount with the parallel passage in Luke. I simply selected the one I did because it is simple and clear, not because I think that it is overwhelmingly important in the interpretation of the Gospel, however it much it may teach us about the nature of the gospels.

    You also evade my main points, if there is only “THE Gospel”, why does the Bible have four separate accounts of the gospel? Even if they agreed perfectly with one another, I would still think that one would be sufficient. Maybe the Spirit is trying to tell us something about the nature of the gospel by having four separate (and disparate) accounts?

    You also are ignoring my point that Jesus saw his ministry primarily in terms of the poor and oppressed, much as Wallis, et.al., see theirs and view their gospel. Worse, rather than seeking to understand them and why they do the things they do, you simply dismiss them as heretics, which is simply a “Christian” way of saying “I don’t want to have to deal with the things you are saying, so I will just slap a label on you and ignore you”.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “Rather than dismissing “the other” as heretics, we should be welcoming them and asking them to show us their gospel, their God.”

    That’s nice, but that’s not how Jesus or the rest of the New Testament authors talked about dealing with people who taught different gospels. In fact, God makes it very crystal clear that there is only ONE God, only ONE Gospel, and only ONE way to be saved. And if someone doesn’t agree with that, Jesus said to treat them like Jews treated tax collectors… in other words, as outsiders. Paul said not to even eat with them. Hmm, sounds like your methods, while nice-sounding, aren’t biblical in the least.

    “This is the way that our knowledge and perception of God grows, when we are able to see Him through the eyes of others.”

    Wrong, our knowledge and perception of God grows as we align our beliefs more and more closely to Scripture and live out its implications.

    “You also evade my main points, if there is only “THE Gospel”, why does the Bible have four separate accounts of the gospel? Even if they agreed perfectly with one another, I would still think that one would be sufficient. Maybe the Spirit is trying to tell us something about the nature of the gospel by having four separate (and disparate) accounts? “

    I imagine you’ve heard the analogy of the elephant where four blind men feel an elephant and report different aspects of it. There is still only ONE elephant, not four different elephants.

    “You also are ignoring my point that Jesus saw his ministry primarily in terms of the poor and oppressed, much as Wallis, et.al., see theirs and view their gospel. Worse, rather than seeking to understand them and why they do the things they do, you simply dismiss them as heretics, which is simply a “Christian” way of saying “I don’t want to have to deal with the things you are saying, so I will just slap a label on you and ignore you”.”

    Many theologians and economists have dealt with the ideas that Wallis and his ilk promote. I’ve read a few books and done plenty of thinking on these matters… and would be more than willing to discuss the details of what makes Wallis’ ideology so evil and abhorrent. I already posted Doug Wilson’s piece above which gives some good answers to Wallis’ lies and half-truths. But I am more than capable of bantering his ideas with you if you like. I merely call him a heretic and liar because it has long been been established as prima facie. Don’t have to reinvent the wheel of orthodoxy and sound economic sense every single time, do I?

  • jeff

    Darius,
    I think you are making Larry’s point about the gospels with your elephant analogy. It would seem that if the gospel writers perspectives of Jesus were as dim as four blind men’s descriptions of an elephant (no offense meant to blind folks) then there is simply no way for us to know ‘THE Gospel’. All we can hope is to catch a glimpse of the hope that Paul wrote about in I Corinthians 13.

    “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    To a certain extent, Jeff, you are correct. Paul did recognize that we can only know God so much in this life. Yet he also recognized that certain things ARE knowable to the point that he called out many people as false teachers. And lest we forget, many times these false teachers were quite sincere in their beliefs.

    Paul (and Peter and others) spent a significant amount of time telling people to avoid turning away from THE Gospel. So obviously, if we’re honest, we have to admit that whatever we now think about the Gospel, the early church leaders certainly thought that the Gospel was both knowable and worth defending against fake versions.

    We know THE Gospel from the Scriptures, from reading them in their ENTIRETY rather than pitting one text against another like Tony and others on here like to do. The Word is the Light that allows the blind men to see the entire elephant.

  • jeff

    So we could say that either your analogy about the elephant doesn’t work or that “blind men” know THE Gospel better than the writers themselves. A petty distinction possibly but it helps clarify your position on Larry’s comments on how we view the gospels.

    Also I could have missed in this long string of thoughts, but could you in few sentences lay out what THE Gospel, in your opinion, is.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “Also I could have missed in this long string of thoughts, but could you in few sentences lay out what THE Gospel, in your opinion, is.”

    Well, there are a lot of facets to the beautiful gem of the Gospel, but most basically, it’s what Paul says it is in 1 Corinthians 15: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

    Romans is basically an unpacking of that sentence and an in-depth look at the Gospel.
    - No one is righteous or good in their own strength
    - Because He is just, God demands payment for the sin of mankind.
    - The only fair payment for one’s sin is death.
    - Because mankind obviously cannot make that payment and survive, God sent His Son to take that payment on Himself and to live the perfectly righteous life that men can not live.
    - Salvation is by grace alone through faith in the shed blood of Christ and His resurrected Body. You can’t earn it, and you can’t choose it unless God calls you to Himself. Both Christ’s sacrifice and the faith required for salvation are gifts; we bring nothing to the table.
    - In faith, Jesus demands that we follow His commands and love one another.

    I’m probably missing one or two key elements, but that pretty well sums it up.

  • http://www.billsamuel.net/ Bill Samuel

    Yes you are missing some key elements. Not that what you list is wrong, but there are major facets of the gospel you leave out. I don’t think this is just overlooking, since you are attacking those who put a lot of emphasis on those facets.

  • Larry

    Darius, your version of the gospel, AKA “penal substitutionary atonement” has only been accepted, and only in the west, since the 12th century. For most of the history of the church and in most places, you would be considered a heretic for such beliefs. Are you still sure you have “THE Gospel”? Yes, I know you can read PSA into Romans, but you do have to read it _into_ the text, it is not necessarily there. There are other ways to read it, see Douglas Campbell, “The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul” for one example.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “Darius, your version of the gospel, AKA “penal substitutionary atonement” has only been accepted, and only in the west, since the 12th century. For most of the history of the church and in most places, you would be considered a heretic for such beliefs.”

    That is such a silly canard and lie. Sure, maybe it wasn’t called PSA in the early church, but everyone believed it. It was pretty much just assumed since it is the core of the Gospel. Without the forgiveness of sins by the sacrifice of Christ, there is no salvation. Romans (even Tony admits that it’s there, just chooses not to believe it) and the entire New Testament is pretty clear on this point. That’s not to say that there aren’t other facets to the atonement, such as Christus Victor, ransom theory, etc. But those all stem out of PSA, at least as it regards how one can be saved. In another sense, CV is the main component of the atonement since the Bible seems to state that God’s primary purpose in creating humanity and dying for it was to make Satan look bad in the end and show just how glorious God really is. Instead of destroying him the minute he rebelled as He could have, God chose to put him to shame by showing off His glorious qualities, particularly love, grace, and justice.

  • Larry

    That is such a silly canard and lie.

    That is _not_ a lie, but an easily verifiable fact of history. If PSA is so fundamental to the gospel, then you won’t have a problem showing where even one Greek or Latin father unambiguously believed it.

  • jeff

    Darius,

    The problem with your gospel, the reason that most of us think that it falls short in many ways, is that it only seems to matter after a person dies. Salvation, in this view, is merely fire insurance.

    Why did Jesus tell us how to live in the gospels if he only came to give us a pleasant eternity? Is the good news in Luke 4:18-19 simply telling people to agree to a set of beliefs so they can go to heaven or did Jesus really mean that it was good news for the poor and opressed? As in hope for a better life here as well as a hope after this life.

    I guess the point is that it seems there is more to THE Gospel than just PSA. The four gospels themselves seem to shout that they are about a whole new way of life.

  • carla jo

    “The Bible seems to state that God’s primary purpose in creating humanity and dying for it was to make Satan look bad in the end and show just how glorious God really is.”

    I’m sorry…what?

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com steve

    Are you sure you guys all believe in the same God? This is actually funny I think. Round and round and round you go and in the end no one really knows.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius
  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “did Jesus really mean that it was good news for the poor and oppressed? As in hope for a better life here as well as a hope after this life.”

    Hmm, you misunderstand Jesus if you think He promises a better life now, Jeff. The early church would have scoffed at that idea. They were largely martyred, after all. Jesus said his people would suffer. You sound like you believe (unwittingly, perhaps) in a prosperity gospel. The hope for this life is SPIRITUAL peace and joy, largely because the problem of the next life is answered through Christ. He ushered in the “already/not yet” dichotomy of Christianity. Sure, Jesus reigns right now and Satan is in a sense bound and the Kingdom is slowly coming, but it won’t really come until Christ’s return when all will be made perfectly new. For now, we are being changed from one glory to another through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But we won’t be perfected til we see Jesus coming for His people…

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Carla Jo, I was referring to Colossians 2.

    God sent His Son for His Own Name’s Sake, to prove to everyone just how glorious He is. He did everything to show His glory. “For the glory set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.”

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    Darius, ripping a few quotes out of their historical and theological contexts doesn’t prove anything, most of the fathers held to a recapitulation or ransom justification theories. In both of these it is common to speak of Christ being a substitute for us, and of us being due punishment, this does not mean that the writers held to PSA as understood by the Reformers, especially Calvin. Eusebius speaks often of Christ being a ransom, it makes more sense to interpret the snippet quoted in your link to that than to an anachronistic PSA. Here’s a good paper that shows up the weaknesses of reading PSA into the Fathers: http://therebelgod.com/AtonementFathersEQ.pdf , sorry that it’s a PDF. Here’s the money quote regarding Eusebius (the paper also deals with Justin and Augustine, and others):

    As before our authors immediately declare this to be an ‘unequivocal statement of penal substitution’.11 However, simply by reading the preceding sentence in Eusebius, we can already see problems with their conclusion. Eusebius asks, ‘How can he make our sins his own, and be said to bear our iniquities?… He takes into himself the labours of the suffering members, and makes our sicknesses his, and suffers all our woes and labours by the laws of love.’12 The context in which Eusebius says that Christ bore our curse was the same in which he bore our sickness, sorrow, and burdens as well. The paradigm here is not one solely of bearing a legal penalty, but of one bearing another’s burdens in love – both our hurtfulness, and the hurt we encounter in a fallen world: sickness, woes, labours Eusebius then proceeds over the next several chapters to attribute the sufferings of Christ, not to the Father and divine retributive justice, but to evil powers who ‘inspired the plot that was carried through by men’13 who
    ‘did evil to him instead of good, and gave him hate in return for his love’.14 After developing this theme of the injustice of Christ’s passion, (as opposed to seeing it as a fulfilment of the demands of justice), Eusebius addresses why God would subject his Son to such evil …

    But what it all boils down to is that you have a prior commitment to PSA, and you’re going to see it just about wherever you look. (And, yes, I admit that I have a prior commitment against PSA and the way that it forces once to view the Father). In any event, the passages that your link cites are certainly not unambiguous.

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    and the way it forces one to think about the Father

    Sorry about that.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Larry, this is where we have to consider the Old Testament and the sacrificial system, which was intended to point to Christ. What do we see there? We see the Passover. We see the scapegoat and the sacrificial lamb. All of which are used heavily in the New Testament explanation of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament requirements.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    The issue here is that you do NOT want to see PSA, and so you make the text say what you want. I don’t care if I see PSA or not, I just read the Word for what it says and let it show me the truth. I have no dog in this fight, but like you just clearly stated at the end of your last comment (“the way it forces one to think about the Father”), you have a bias against thinking a certain way and don’t want to believe the Bible if it goes against your thinking. I admit, my natural thinking would love to think along the lines of what you’re saying, it makes sense according to human reasoning. But human reasoning, we are told in the Bible, is foolishness. What matters is what the ENTIRE Bible actually says. And you can’t avoid the PSA predominance.

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  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    I just read the Word for what it says and let it show me the truth.

    Utter nonsense, nobody can do this, except God. That is the real issue here, you assume that you have a “God’s eye view” of everything, including elephants. There is no such thing as “letting scripture speak for itself”, or any other such similar nonsense, scripture is nothing until someone reads it and interprets it. You just want to make your interpretation the only authoritative one. Good luck with that.

    You can certainly avoid PSA in reading the Bible if you don’t bring the presupposition with you, the church Fathers certainly could, the Eastern Orthodox do now, as does the Roman church, at least in part.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “you assume that you have a “God’s eye view” of everything”

    And you don’t? That’s the real irony here: yours is actually the MORE arrogant opinion because it pretends to be “above” knowing anything yet you insist that I am wrong. Your postmodern attempt at logic is actually pretty hilarious; I literally laughed. :)

    The Roman and Eastern Orthodox Churches aren’t good standards for doctrine.

    “scripture is nothing until someone reads it and interprets it. ”

    This is true. However, the Bible clearly implies that truth is both knowable and God expects us to know it. Your version of all-roads-lead-to-Rome “truth” acts like everyone is equally right (except those who claim to know objective truth; they’re just wrong) or that no one really knows. God doesn’t leave that as an option (at least, not to the extent that you want). Can you not see how absurd, irrational, and, most importantly, unbiblical your postmodern take on doctrine is?

  • http://missourimule.blogspot.com/ Larry

    And you don’t? That’s the real irony here: yours is actually the MORE arrogant opinion because it pretends to be “above” knowing anything yet you insist that I am wrong.

    Only about whether the fathers held to PSA, there is plenty of evidence that they didn’t, quote mining websites to the contrary. I don’t claim to not know anything, I just know that all of my knowledge is provisional and subject to change and revision and that as a finite creature I can’t know anything with absolute certainty. Note that I never said that PSA is wrong, only that is a relatively young doctrine, and never something that was accepted by the church as a whole, and not something that is necessary to be a Christian. At best, it is a metaphor to describe the atonement that Christ procured for us, but it is a metaphor that I don’t find particularly helpful, particularly since it so often used to justify the idea of redemptive violence. Not mention that the picture that it paints of the Father conflicts with what I see in scripture.

    I’ve certainly never claimed to have, nor do I think I have, a God’s eye view of anything, pointing out that you don’t have one either is certainly not a claim to having a God’s eye view.

    However, the Bible clearly implies that truth is both knowable and God expects us to know it.

    I also never said that truth was unknowable, just that certainty is not possible. (Except for trivialities like the Cogito.)

    Can you not see how absurd, irrational, and, most importantly, unbiblical your postmodern take on doctrine is?

    Can’t you see how absurd and irrational your imposing modern ideas and categories on the scriptures is? Did it ever occur to you that Roman law, the basis for PSA, might not be the best matrix for understanding the gospel? I’m also afraid that you really don’t know anything about post-modern thought, I suspect that all of your knowledge of it comes second and third hand, from its critics.

  • Aran

    Ok, we’ve got that all settled.

    Everyone on the same page now?

    I feel like a million dollars.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “I also never said that truth was unknowable, just that certainty is not possible.”

    Except you’re certain that my certainty is wrong. I love irony.

  • ProperVillain

    Darius, just as you accuse larry of being heretical you can also be accused of accepting simple answers to complex questions. Or, worse, of not even questioning answers you have been given in (presumably) a bunch of bullet pointed sunday sermons by your pastor.
    I was once like you, very hostile towards anything other than “THE gospel” which, I agree, is a loose term up for a lot of personal interpretation. But my hostility and dogma had more to do with fear and very little to do with God, the bible, or faith.
    It had everything to do with clinging on to a faith that I was to fearful and lazy to question in any significant way. I just nodded my head every sunday like a good sheep and accepted answers and explanations that I knew deep down were a bit off and did not satisfy.
    I learned to question everything and essentially burned my “faith” to the ground and started over. I think everything that most Christians argue about is very petty and really, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter.
    And it comes down to fear mostly. I find that most “hard core” evangelicals do not really question their faith, or God, or the bible in order to make it their own. Make it what they believe, not their pastor. Not some convenient, tidy talking points. I think if people would just admit and embrace the doubt and itching questions then there would be a lot less banning, arguing, and fiery posts about such useless things.
    If God is all powerful, I don’t think a little controversy ruffles his feathers. Either by Wallis or anyone else.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    That’s nice, PV, but it doesn’t square with Scripture. I’ve read quite a bit on these issues, and do not come to them “lazily” (it’s so funny how pretentious liberal Christians are to anyone who disagrees with them). Take a glance through the Old Testament… God seemed to take sin and “controversy” quite seriously. Just ask the former residents of Sodom, or the Israelite Achan, or David. You can say nice canards about how God is love and doesn’t care about half the stuff Christians care about, but unless it is backed by Scripture, it’s rubbish.

  • ProperVillain

    I’m neither pretentious nor liberal. I think labels are slung by people who like to skip discussion and move right on to presuming what others are like. I didn’t say God doesn’t take sin seriously but what Wallis believes and some of the other “heretics” ( as labeled by some of the more conservative christian elements) like Tony Campollo is far from sin just a different point of view arrived at by the same scriptures you use to arrive at your conclusions.
    What part of what I said doesn’t “square with scripture”? The thinking on my own part? The making your faith your own? I can’t see how anything I’ve said is contrary to scripture nor warrants an even loose comparison to Sodom.
    Which brings up another point. Why is it when people want to prove it is ok to be pissed off in a “righteous” way against “sin” they always bring up the old testament? Evangelicals have been using this to bash gays for decades. Why is it that a lot of the old testament laws are summarily ignored UNTIL it becomes convenient in an argument to pull something out of the old testament?
    As I seem to remember in the new testament, which most Christians claim trumps the old, Christ was the most harsh on the religious leaders of the time. So why is it now that when someone has views that are a bit “anti-establishment” in regards to the church they are attacked? Isn’t this the same thing the Pharisees did to Christ? Instead of listening and learning they attempted to shut him down.
    And we can all see how well that worked…
    Your hostile tone only proves my point about fear by the way…

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    You’re hilarious, PV. MY hostile tone? You just got done patting me on the head for my lazy, stupid beliefs, and I’m the hostile one. You obviously have no sense of irony.

    Let’s deal with hard New Testament (no, it doesn’t “trump” the Old, just fills it out), shall we? Time and again, both Jesus and the apostles command Christians to root out false teachers. Paul, in fact, said to not even eat with them (a sign of just how serious God takes false teaching). So, it’s pretty easily settled that God is not in the business of false teaching. And anyone besides the most idiotic postmodern will admit that a radical liberal like Jim Wallis or Brian McLaren and a strong conservative like Doug Wilson or DA Carson can’t both be right. So that begs the question: what is today’s false teaching? I can bring a whole host of writings and Scriptural texts to bear against Wallis’ foolish love of envy and political liberalism, and even more against McLaren’s heretical views of God. Wallis MAY just be a foolish-yet-genuine Christian (I need to hear more of his grasp of the Gospel if he could ever drop his political rants for a minute), but McLaren is clearly not one at all. I wish he would come to repentance, because he is a popular voice who could do much good in the Church instead of the evil he is currently perpetrating on the world. Matt. 18:6 is particularly apropos here.

  • ProperVillain

    If you want to take it as a patting on the head my friend, that is your issue. I was simply pointing out that what you call heresy can also be called deep thinking for yourself. That was my point. I also lumped myself (past self really) in with my post.
    Foolish love of “envy and political liberalism”? If he’s liberal politicly so what? Was Christ a card carrying Republican? Liberal normally just means a different way to solve problems than conservative. Mostly the ideas are neither right nor wrong but just a matter of personal taste.
    In the same way I think the ongoing witch hunt for false teachers has the same tone. It’s not really about something being anti-gospel or Christ for that matter just anti what most people think. Anti-establishment as I’ve brought up. Anti what most churches espouse as “truth”. “Truth” in this context being peripheral issues that have no real bearing on much of anything other than the personal leanings of the senior pastor or church staff.
    I believe this line of thinking in churches is heavily aligned with politics and Americanism. I think most people stateside get Christian, Capitalist and American confused as all being tied together. Hence the rabid search for false teachers that happen to have a slightly different political, social, or theological bend than your average church goer.
    Also, as far as the original article mentioned, why do churches feel the need to “boycott” those they disagree with? Do they feel that the their beliefs and the beliefs of their congregates are so weak that they won’t stand up to some questioning and exploration? What are they afraid of?

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “Liberal normally just means a different way to solve problems than conservative.”

    This is incorrect. Liberalism causes problems, Christian conservatism solves them (as much as they can be solved in this life, that is). Liberalism hates justice and destroys lives. Just ask the minorities in this country how the liberal welfare state has helped them. This isn’t a matter of taste, it’s a matter of Biblical values versus unbiblical values. You just have to listen to Wallis for a few seconds to hear him promote sinful desires as political policies. Doug Wilson did a great job of showing that right here: http://www.dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7747:advisor-to-the-tamarack-and-white-pine&catid=87:politics

    To be a Biblical Christian, one must NECESSARILY be some sort of conservative (note: I did NOT say Republican).

  • ProperVillain

    There are many (myself among them) who would disagree with your assesement of “Christian Conservatism”. I’m sure it’s caused its share of problems as well. No solution is perfect. I’m not niave enough to think that more liberal solutions haven’t caused problems either but my main issue is with the whole “us versus them” mentality, both politically and theologically, that shuts down all discussion and compromise and, in the end, good solutions.
    Also, “biblical christian” is just another term that can be debated.
    No one holds the ultimate truth to what the scripture means enough to dub someone biblical christian or otherwise.
    Also, reading his points, I fail to see what is so evil about it. Do I agree with all of it? No. But I fail to see anything that warrants him being labeled as “evil”.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    “No one holds the ultimate truth to what the scripture means enough to dub someone biblical christian or otherwise.”

    Well, Wallis would disagree with you, since he did just that in his piece on the Tea Party. Everyone, including Tony, claims exclusive truth. Conservative orthodox Christians are just the ones with enough cajones and honesty to admit it.

  • ProperVillain

    I guess you have a point there. Whether or not the Conservative Orthodox Christians are correct remains to be seen. As well as Wallis. Or any of us with any “biblical” viewpoint for that matter.
    But, again, I think it comes down to peripheral issues that can be debated in either direction. My only true theology is if I stick to the top two (love god, love your neighbor) everything else is just, in the final analysis, debate fodder:)

  • Aran

    Our pastor/priest just preached a beautiful sermon on this whole issue. A number of us were at Lifest and heard Jim speak so we heard his comments first hand.

    Once the podcast is up, I will post it here.

    peace to you all

  • nathan

    Darius,

    to say split hairs that way doesn’t relieve the problematic nature of your claim.

    It’s clear from you comments that you yourself have fallen victim to the particular phenomenon of making epistemology and political philosophy a litmus test of Christian Identity.

    But if you’re right, then we’ll be sure to add those clauses to either the Creeds or our local church’s statement of faith. ;)

  • nathan

    one more thing…

    It would be nice if you didn’t make statements that imply that “liberal Christians” have the corner on condescension. In reality, that’s a “human” problem, not a particularly liberal or conservative one. I’m sure if you step back you’d see that there’s plenty to go around.

  • Aran

    I am not attempting to stir up more unhelpful back and forth comments . . . just thought folks might be interested in hearing Jim’s thoughts and comments about his experience at Lifest . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-wallis/controversy-in-wisconsin_b_647780.html

    peace and grace to you all

  • Aran

    As promised . . .

    Here is the link to the sermon preached by our priest/pastor on this whole “controversy” . . . Ralph Osborne was at Lifest, heard Jim Wallis speak at Lifest, participated in conversations with various pastors around our area on the topic of Jim coming to Lifest before Lifest took place, etc. He’s qualified to speak on the topic.

    http://www.stthomaswi.com/resourceshow.php?id=24

    The sermon you’ll want to hear is dated July 11 and is from the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.

    Enjoy. And would love to hear helpful thoughts and comments.

    peace to you

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